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Take the case of a man who desires to “run away” with another man’s wife. The one immutable Law of Individuality says no man owns a wife. Instead of this being a problem with two men and one man’s property as factors, it is a case of three individuals with god-given rights of individual choice. You have heard it said that “where two are agreed as touching anything it shall be done unto them.” It takes two to make, or to keep made, a bargain. No matter what hallucinations in regard to ownership any man may labor under, he does not own a wife. He has no more “rights” over one woman than over another, or over another man, except as the woman herself gives him the right and keeps on giving it to him.
The Law of Individuality is absolute, and in due time husbands will know better than to imagine they own wives; wives will know better than to be owned; and the other man will not imagine he can gain great pleasure from “running away” with anything. Each will be free and leave the others so.
But “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” Until a man recognizes the Law of Individuality his actions are governed by the Law he does recognize, and his desires act accordingly. When he desires to “run away” with anything his conscience tells him he is stealing. If desire is strong enough he steals a wife, and eventually suffers for it. For, though he may not have broken a real law, he has broken an imagined one and in his own mind he deserves punishment and in his own mind he gets it. “As a man thinketh so is he,” and what he is determines what he attracts.
Never was a deeper, truer saying than Paul’s “BLESSED is the man that doubteth not in that thing which he alloweth.” The man who waits, until he is “fully persuaded in his own mind” will be blessed in following desire, and he will grow in wisdom thereby.
The man who thinks his desire is “bad” and yet follows it, will grow in wisdom by the scourging he gets. He has transgressed his conception of the One Law and suffers in getting back to at-one-ment.
In either case he grows in wisdom and eventually he will desire only in accordance with the One Law of Individual Choice.
There is no question of “ought” about it. The individual is free to follow desire or to crucify it. And the fact is, he follows desire when he crucifies it. He desires to crucify desire, because he is afraid to gratify it.
The man who is not afraid follows desire and grows fast in wisdom and in knowledge. He may make mistakes and suffer all sorts of agonies as a result. But he learns from his misses as well as from his hits, and he progresses.
The man who is afraid to follow desire crucifies his life and stunts his growth.